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County officials, organization addressing childcare crisis in Broome County

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child care crisis

(WBNG) -- As more day cares close across the Southern Tier, the concern for the lack of child care availability grows with it.

After the Future Faces Day Care center was shut down by the state and the Boys and Girls Club of Western Broome closed due to financial reasons, parents are left looking for very limited options.

Family Enrichment's Child Care Resource and Referral Director, Jennifer Perney, says this has been a growing problem for the past decade.

"In the last ten years, we've seen a lot of day cares close due to financial reasons," said Perney. "It always varies why a program will close. It's hard to run a child care center. There's a lot of regulations that cost a lot of money."

That cost then puts a burden on the parents trying to take care of their children. Since parents are left with few affordable and safe options, some can't even work their jobs because they have to stay home with their kids.

The result of this problem proved staggering statistics. Perney told 12 News that more than 1,400 children under the age of five waiting for slots in child care programs in Broome County alone. Those numbers do not include hundreds of other children in Tioga and Chenango Counties.

Meanwhile, the Family Enrichment Network says it is working with Broome County Executive Jason Garnar's office to find solutions to this ongoing problem.

"I'm a father of three, so this is a great concern to me as well," said Garnar. "We've been talking about day care for several years now. We've started to put some plans to help providers build out more day care centers."

Garnar went on to say while there aren't any quick solutions to this issue, he is working hard to improve situations within the year.

"As a result of those discussions, you are going to see a couple of projects emerge this year that will expand the daycare slots, but a lot better job has to be done in terms of identifying funding, probably state or federal funding, to be able to build out the infrastructure," said Garnar.

In the meantime, the Family Enrichment Network suggests if you are in need of assistance, to call its center at (607) 723-8313. Also, officials recommend contacting your employer and explain your situation, so they may be able to help in some way or work with the network to provide assistance.

Anne Sparaco

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